Introduction and Theoretical Background

Part of the BestMasters book series (BEST)


One of the most unique aspects of the human mind is social cognition – defined as the processing of information in a social setting (Frith, 2008). By perceiving the thoughts and feelings of the people around us and empathizing with them in the process, we distinguish ourselves from other non-human species. With these innate perception skills, that are acquired very early and strongly refined over the life-span with each social interaction, we successively extend our abilities to better understand interactions in general and interpret the intentions and psychological states of our counterparts (Bernhardt & Singer, 2012; Lieberman & Pfeifer, 2005; Norris & Cacioppo, 2007).


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Psychologische Grundlagenforschung und ForschungsmethodenUniversität WienWienAustria

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